What’s Our Motive?
I love the testimony from 2 Kings Chapter 4 of the faithful Shunammite woman. Her testimony demonstrates a heart condition worth aspiring towards. The Old Testament prophet Elisha would frequently travel through Shunem, a small town on the way to Mt. Carmel. You may recall that Mt. Carmel was significant for Elisha because his mentor, Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal there and proven the Almighty Father God was the only God who answers by fire! (1 Kings 18)
Look at 2 Kings 4:8-9, “Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly.” This Shunammite woman took note of Elisha’s travels, recognized this was a man of God, and saw to it that she provided for Him when he would travel through. There are so many things we can learn from this faithful woman of God.
First, she wasn’t afraid to show honor for the man of God in big, costly ways. Look what happens next in scripture, 2 Kings 4:9-11, “And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.” This faithful woman wasn’t satisfied with her original giving. Her heart was to give more. Notice it started with something small like a meal, but increased to something much larger, an addition of a second story loft specifically for lodging Elisha during his travels. As Christians, our hearts should never be satisfied staying at the level of generosity we began with. Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” The heart of the Father is to give!
Next, she wasn’t interested in making a name for herself. I find it extremely telling that she will forever be a nameless example of a behind the scenes servant of the Lord. This is representative of what the Lord values in His people. Look at Philippians 2:5-7, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” The heart of Jesus was never to boast of His own doing or give Himself glory for any good deeds. Too often, people want the glory. People want a name for themselves. People want fame. We would do ourselves well to take upon us the name of Christ and learn from this humble Shunammite woman.
This brings me to another point worth noting; her motives were pure. When asked what kind of repayment she desired for her good deeds and her giving, she was quick to decline. 2 Kings 4:13, “….Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” In other words, “I didn’t do this for fame. I’m not looking for a reward.”
Finally, her miracle was found after her honor, her generosity, and her motives were proven. Elisha wasn’t content, because God isn’t content, for those who demonstrate such honor and faithfulness to go without good things. As the account continues, we see that a desire of this woman’s heart was to have a child and she and her husband were naturally unable to do so. God is faithful and performed a miracle in her life, giving her a son. 2 Kings 4:17, “But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.” I know many who are looking for the same kind of miracle and it is always found at the hands of the Lord, accessed by our faith and faithfulness.
This Shunammite woman has such a testimony and is such an example. Let’s remember why God chose to include this account in scripture, making our lives of similar testimony, always keeping our hearts and our motives pure before the Lord as we walk out His plan for our lives.
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